Bishop, Scalise, Cheney unveil GOP alternative federal energy bill
Three senior House Republicans today offered their alternative vision for federal onshore and offshore energy policy with legislation aimed at sharply reducing the obstacles toward constructing new projects.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney and Natural Resources Ranking Member Rob Bishop (Utah) are unveiling the legislative push called the American Energy First Act. Their bill comes the same week as House Democrats plan to vote on three pieces of legislation that would bar oil and gas drilling in many parts of the United States.
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The GOP bill would open the eastern Gulf of Mexico to drilling, require deference to state rules governing fracking on public lands, create new categorical exclusions for oil and gas permitting, and require congressional approval to make areas of the nation’s off-limits for offshore drilling while effectively ending the president’s authority to declare national marine monuments.
It would also boost the states’ share of production revenues to 50 percent from 37.5 percent and remove a $500 million annual cap on the payments to states. And it would block an Interior secretary from preventing coal lease sales and require congressional approval for any moratorium on new oil, gas or coal lease sales on public lands or waters.
The measure also contains a section aimed at boosting renewable energy. It would establish priority areas for geothermal, solar and wind on public lands while limiting the time for their environmental reviews. It also includes provisions meant to boost geothermal energy projects on public lands and authorizing offshore wind production in U.S. territories.
Related documents: Full text of the bill; section-by-section summary; and a two-page fact sheet.